Acting now for a positive 2018, preparing for radical change looks at the trends which will shape the future of business over the next decade – such as the end of cheap finance and resources, the impact of climate change, and the rise of markets like China with demand from their growing middle classes – and draws conclusions for business, governments and regulators.
This report describes four potential scenarios for 2018, and argues that the action business takes on sustainability will play a big part in determining which direction our world takes.
The report argues that business should not wait for government action before taking the first step. Companies can gain competitive advantage by embedding sustainability into every important function and by looking for opportunities that will make money while taking them in the right direction.
Companies can respond to the recession by looking at improving energy and resource efficiency in their own operations, in their supply chains and with their customers. In the longer term they should maximise the value they get from every unit of material or energy. And they should seek out new technologies and business models which will create profit from the radical change which is needed.
But effective action by government and regulators is crucial to reduce the risk of a catastrophic environmental collapse and create the conditions for a truly sustainable economy, it finds. They should set key environmental targets and place greater responsibility on business to deliver these outcomes, but allow companies to meet the targets in their own ways. Legal sanctions should be a last resort.
This project was sponsored by the IT consulting and outsourcing firm, Capgemini.
The analysis in the report has been used extensively to help us understand the causes of the recession and why sustainability will drive the context for business as economies recover. You can find out more about our recession services here.
The scenarios have been used in key note speeches with the Harvard Business Review Polska, 2degrees and the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants and have also helped companies bring sustainability into their business strategies or product and service innovations.
Radio 4, 15 January 2009
Interview in 'Black Monday, Green Tuesday?' episode of Costing the Earth programme
Sustainable Development Research Network, 15 December 2008
SDRN Mailing, Forum for the Future Report
GreenBiz.com, 3 December 2008
Sustainable Business Circa 2018: Will It Be Nasty or NICE? by Joel Makower
BusinessGreen, 2 December 2008
Is the era of ever increasing automation nearing an end?
Yarokist, 2 December 2008
The New Era of Giants - Cleantech Investing and Sustainable Business
Makower, 1 December 2008
Sustainable Business circa 2018: Will It Be Nasty or NICE?